Feeding the e-Beast: will the eBook revolution overwhelm authors? #writing #reading

I just read a very interesting article published in the Christian Science Monitor. It was actually published almost a week ago, but I was so busy I had to save it for later. I’m glad I came back to it.

Like feeding the Sarlacc popcorn. There’s just not enough

The article, entitled How fast can they write? E-books push writer productivity, written by Husna Haq, gives some pretty surprising examples of how the appetite for digital content is pushing writers to produce at never before seen levels. Where once an author who published once per year was considered impressive, we live in a world where some well known authors are publishing two or more novels per year. James Patterson wrote or co-wrote 12 novels last year, and plans on writing 13 next year.

There are two sides of this that are immediately striking. The first, partially alluded to in the article, is what drives this demand: the people want to read. For aspiring authors, this desire, fueled by easy access to quality ebooks, is in turn creating exciting opportunities. Of course, it’s up to us to create content readers want to buy.

The second is what this demand might do to the quality of novels being churned out so quickly. Can even talented authors maintain quality when publishing so much so quickly? And take that a step farther for indie authors: for those who are trying to write tons of content, but eschew professional editing, what does that do to the name of the author?

Points to ponder. But I think we should take the positive lesson from this article. There’s  a market out there that wants to read. So now we need to make sure we’re delivering content to help fill that need.

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4 Responses to Feeding the e-Beast: will the eBook revolution overwhelm authors? #writing #reading

  1. ztburian says:

    I fear that the readers will either grow accustomed to diminished quality or simply cease to care about it. I personally don’t think that authors can maintain quality while upping quantity. I think, though, that authors don’t need to write faster. If people are reading more, and there are more authors publishing, them writers don’t have to push themselves to publish more books – the reader will be entertained by others until the author is done with his/her next book. What they should do instead is focus more on quality, both technically and from a story standpoint, to ensure that the readers will come clammering for more, no matter how long the wait.

    Good find! And I agree, the best thing to take from this is that people are reading more – that’s never a bad thing.

    • W.E. Linde says:

      I like your point that there will be new authors to step in to fill the demand. It will be interesting to see if, as the article says, publishers begin to pressure writers to produce more. It’s certainly an interesting development in the evolving industry. Thanks for the comment!

  2. katkasia says:

    I rather agree with the comment above. I daresay that there are people out there who can produce that many quality books a year, if they had a team behind them to do all the required editing, proofreading, cover design etc. But I’ve felt that a book needs some time to mature: I need some time to put it away for a while, so I can come back and look at it with fresh eyes.Ultimately, if authors start producing poor content at the cost of quantity, especially now that people are generally quite time-poor, they risk turning off their readers and fans altogether.
    So that’s obviously a vote for quality from me! 🙂

    • W.E. Linde says:

      Yes, exactly. Especially in the indie world, where reputations are painstakingly built and easily lost. Definitely need to tend to quality before quantity. Thanks for your comments!

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